China Growth Slows In Q2 Amid Debt Crackdown, Trade Tensions

China’s economic growth slowed in the second quarter, as the government’s efforts to rein in debt damped activity, while production slowed adding fuel to concerns over an escalating trade war with the US.

Gross domestic product expanded 6.7 percent year-on-year in the three months to June after growing 6.8 percent in the first quarter, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed Monday. Growth was in line with economists’ expectations.

The pace of expansion was the slowest since the third quarter of 2016, when the economy grew 6.7 percent.

Growth stayed within the 6.7-6.9 percent range for 12 quarters consecutively, the NBS said.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, GDP rose 1.8 percent quarter-on-quarter in the second quarter of 2018, beating forecasts for an increase of 1.6 percent, and followed the rise of 1.4 percent in the three months prior.

The economy expanded 6.8 percent year-on-year in the first half of the year.

External uncertainties are increasing and economic
restructuring is in a phase of overcoming difficulties, the NBS noted.

The headline official indicators are now in broad agreement that the economy is losing momentum, Capital Economics noted.

“The upshot is that the statistics bureau is now starting to more publicly acknowledge that the economy is losing steam,” Capital Economics economist Julian Evans-Pritchard said. “This should make it easier for officials to justify a more supportive policy stance.”

The People’s Bank of China reduced the reserve requirement ratio thrice this year and the biggest cut was a 50 basis points reduction for some banks in June.

The central bank will now think of slashing benchmark lending rates in the coming months, the economist said.

The NBS also said that retail sales advanced an annual 9.0 percent in June, exceeding expectations for 8.8 percent and up from 8.5 percent in May.

Industrial production gained 6.0 percent on year, shy of forecasts for 6.5 percent and down from 6.8 percent in the previous month.

Fixed asset investment gained 6.0 percent on year, in line with expectations and down from 6.12 percent a month earlier.

The surveyed unemployment rate in urban areas was 4.8 percent in June, same as in May.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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